JCT were not at their Sunday best, but they did enough to eke out a 1-0 win over ONGC in a quarterfinal league match of the 122nd Durand Cup.
After missing three sitters in the first half, Baljit Sahni made amends when he struck the winner after the change of ends. Jaspal Singh took the free kick and Sahni's header, which lacked power but was effective, found the back of the net.
JCT wouldn't have walked away with three points, had ONGC's Phool Chand Hembram not missed the chance to score with almost the entire goal at his mercy.
His coach Sujit Chakraborty couldn't believe his luck. Baba Tunde did the groundwork but Hembram's lack of discretion didn't help his team.
Sukhwinder Singh's boys, however, could have settled the issue much before the 62nd minute strike, but Sahni's hits and miss story ensured the scoreline remained 0-0 at the breather.
JCT had an opening when Sahni, after being fed by Nigerian Penn Ikechukwu Orgi, dribbled past a couple of ONGC defenders before failing to put the ball into an empty net.
The JCT striker was the culprit again when he placed his header off Baldip Singh's cross over the bar.
And then, with only Billy Fung Nazary, the ONGC goalkeeper, to beat, Sahni took a frail shot that was way off the target.
In the second half, Sahni could have made it 2-0, but instead of taking a shot at the post he pushed the ball for Balwant Singh, who was in no position to score.
“We could have easily scored a few more goals. The one he (Sahni) missed in the first half was the most easiest ones,” said Sukhwinder after the match.
Bhutia, Bagan hearing
New Delhi: Bhaichung Bhutia's participation in the Durand Cup remained doubtful after chief arbitrator Amarendra Sharan failed to solve the ongoing
tussle between the India skipper and Mohun Bagan.
After a meeting with both the parties here on Sunday, Sharan has set September 16 as the next date of hearing, after which he will take a call.
“Things look tough but I am hopeful that we would find a solution,” Sharan said.
Mohun Bagan were represented by club secretary Anjan Mitra and other officials while Usha Nath Banerjee, Bhutia's lawyer, represented him.
It was learnt that Mitra will discuss the issue with club officials before deciding the future course of action.